One purpose of this blog is to provide payback to the open source community and to contribute to the knowledge-base that is freely available on the web. Take a little, give a little. As I develop architectedfutures.net I want to put some of my process and analysis on the web in a form that allows others to critique, copy or emulate what I am doing. The criticism should help me improve my product. Providing useful content for others to emulate is payback for what I have been able to obtain gratis in my research efforts. This is the start of a series of posts in that vein. The series will detail my decision process for selecting the base platform for the architectedfutures.net site.
As covered in other posts, a big thing I want to talk about on this site is a Drupal vs WordPress decision I’m making for the architectedfutures.net site. Depending on the discoveries I make and the feedback I get, that may turn into an evaluation that also includes Joomla – or possibly some other alternative. Right now, for resource and time management reasons, I’m going to leave it at just two: Drupal and WordPress. I mention Joomla because it seems to come up in other serious evaluations that I’ve seen. (Plone is also mentioned but I ruled it out because I want to stick with a PHP implementation. Plone is Python-based.) From the evaluations I’ve seen I would think that Joomla (and potentially Plone) should also be part of any serious CMS competitive evaluation, unless you (like me) have already ruled them out in a higher level screening. In my case I based that screening on language choices and research looking at evaluations done by others, not a detailed analysis. That means that as I go down this path I’m going to leave Joomla out, but I’m open to bringing it in if an appropriate case is made. Right now, I just can’t afford the resources to include it, and from what I’ve read, I doubt that I will have missed my best alternative for what I want to do.
First, I want to say that this is not a marketing pitch. I’m sure that for some folks, in fact for a lot of folks, WordPress will be the best alternative. For others, Drupal is really what you want to use. And yes, for others Joomla or Plone is your best choice. And there are some people who should use brands x, y or z. Go to cmsmatch.com or cmsmatrix.org. There are lots, and lots of alternatives. For most people, more than one can probably do a good job. There probably is not a “best” fit that is head-and-shoulders above the crowd for you, or the one that is best for you may not be the same one 99.99% of the rest of the population would have chosen. But you need to make a choice and get on with life. What you want is to make a “good” choice and realize that every choice will involve some trade-offs.
In this first post I’m going to talk about configuring the process of making the choice. I’m not going to delve into any of the detail product comparison. So if that’s what you wanted and why you are here, you should probably bail now. However, if you’re interested in making a serious comparison that will have some lasting impact on your business plan or your community project, then you may want to keep reading. For those who have done serious product evaluations before, you too may want to bail on this particular post and come back to read some of the detail follow-up in the series. I’m hoping that you’ll at least skim the rest of this though, and offer a comment if you see something glaring that should change, be deleted or be added. I will follow-up this post with others that look at specific elements of the systems, either on a head-to-head basis, or on a one-off basis (like what I did in my BuddyPress – WordPress Profile Synchronization post). Those follow-up posts on my part will fill in the details of the process for me. If you are in a hurry, you don’t have to wait for me to complete my choice. You can use the process I’m describing here and use other research from other sources to fill in the detail scores. If you follow the overall process, you will still have a good chance of coming up with a very good answer for you. The type of answer you will be able to sell to your customers, associates and/or management, and one that you can live with without regrets.
(More on page 2, below)